Two East Coast medtech entrepreneurs claimed the top prizes in the Canadian edition of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, or GSEA, and will now proceed to the international finals.

David Hodgson, CEO and Co-Founder of Halifax-based Hollo Medical, won the $50,000 first prize. Bronwyn Bridges, Co-Founder and CEO of St. John’s-based PragmaClin Research, claimed the second prize, which is worth $25 000.

A third Atlantic Canadian won the $5,000 Grit Award. It was captured by Jaime Landry, the Founder of Black Harbour Distillery in Hubbards, NS. The total prize purse at the event was $100,000, and Atlantic Canadians claimed $80,000 of it. 

The GSEA bills itself as the world’s premier competition for student entrepreneurs, and features national competitions in countries all over the globe. The winners of these national contests will meet later this year to decide the global winner.

Hollo is developing a spacer for use with asthma inhalers that is small enough to fit in a child’s pocket, unlike existing, cumbersome products. In previous public statements, Hodgson said the device will be simpler to manufacture than conventional spacers and the regulatory approval process will be simplified by the fact that the technology’s underlying mechanism is already approved and widely used.

PragmaClin is building solutions to allow for remote medical assessments of people with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. The company is developing PRIMS, the Parkinson's Remote Interactive Monitoring System. It allows patients to stand in front of a camera on a laptop or other device and do the movements the system asks for. The system records the motions and sends the data to a medical professional for assessment.

Both companies are participants in the Ready2Launch program at Dalhousie University, and both in the past year have won $25,000 in equity investment at the Volta Cohort pitching competition. They have also received other awards recently, with Pragmaclin winning $47,000 at the Bounce Health Innovation Embryo Grants competition, and Hollo entering the Innovacorp Accelerate program.